I’ve been wanting to watch Fresh Off The Boat pretty since I started seeing GIFS of Jessica Huang being amazing. Once the entire series went up on Hulu, I immediately jumped on it and was not disappointed. Jessica, who should really be credited as the show’s breakout character, is a hilarious, pragmatic, tough-talking mother of three. In her youth, she immigrated to the United States from Taiwan and is now a successful real estate agent.
One of the things I love about Jessica is her complete and utter confidence in herself. She will often make off-hand remarks about how she is the best at absolutely everything, but it’s pretty true. She aces her real estate exam, she’s a great businesswoman, she’s fantastic at raising her kids, and she pretty much gets shit done.
One of my favorite quotes by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi applies here: “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” Sure, Jessica does embody some traits that we consider Asian stereotypes: she’s a strict parent, she is very concerned with her kids’ grades, she’s thrifty…but those are not her only traits. She is also hella self-assured, clever, and ruthless. She loves Stephen King and colonial American history. She’s also gorgeous (and knows it), super proud of her Chinese identity, and comfortable with who she is. She’s just…well, there’s no other word for it – cool. And her casual disdain for white culture makes my day everyday.
I mean, how often do we see characters like Jessica on TV? How often do we see comedies about immigrant families? Though my family is Arab and not Chinese, we have so much in common with the Huangs, and Jessica very much reminds me of my own mother. It’s so refreshing to be able to laugh at situations I could see cropping up in my own life. It’s nice to finally see one aspect of my experience in the media I consume. Seriously, y’all, go watch this show. You’ll love it and you’ll love Jessica. She’s one of the most badass female characters I’ve seen in a long time. I want to transplant her personality into my brain.
And finally, because I can’t resist: